Barefoot running and hip kinematics: good news for the knee?

Colm McCarthy, Neil Fleming, Bernard Donne, Brian Blanksby
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2015, 47 (5): 1009-16

PURPOSE: Patellofemoral pain and iliotibial band syndromes are common running injuries. Excessive hip adduction (HADD), hip internal rotation (HIR), and contralateral pelvic drop (CLPD) during running have been suggested as causes of injury in female runners. This study compared these kinematic variables during barefoot and shod running.

METHODS: Three-dimensional gait analyses of 23 habitually shod, uninjured female recreational athletes running at 3.33 m·s while shod and barefoot were studied. Spatiotemporal and kinematic data at initial contact (IC), 10% of stance (corresponding to the vertical impact peak), and peak angles were collected from each participant for HADD, HIR, and CLPD, and differences were compared across footwear conditions.

RESULTS: Step rates when running barefoot were 178 ± 13 versus 172 ± 11 steps per minute when shod (P < 0.001). Foot-strike patterns changed from a group mean heel-toe latency indicating a rear-foot strike (20.8 ms) when shod, to one indicating a forefoot strike (-1.1 ms) when barefoot (P < 0.001). HADD was lower at IC and at 10% of stance when running barefoot (2.3° ± 3.6° vs. 3.9° ± 4.0°, P < 0.001 and 2.8° ± 3.5° vs. 3.8° ± 3.7°, P < 0.01), as was HIR (7.9° ± 6.1° vs. 10.8° ± 6.1°, P < 0.001 and 4.1° ± 6.3° vs. 7.0° ± 5.8°, P < 0.01) and CLPD (0.4° ± 2.4° vs. -0.4° ± 2.3°, P < 0.01 and 0.8° ± 2.7° vs. 0.3° ± 2.5°, P < 0.05). There were no significant differences detected in peak data for hip kinematics.

CONCLUSIONS: Barefoot running resulted in lower HADD, HIR, and CLPD when compared to being shod at both IC and 10% of stance, where the body's kinetic energy is absorbed by the lower limb. Because excessive HADD, HIR, and CLPD have been associated with knee injuries in female runners, barefoot running could have potential for injury prevention or treatment in this cohort.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"